Yacht Race is one of the Hill MacGibbon 'Games to stretch the mind' series, and is perhaps best described as a computer version of the Teach Yourself book. The Learning to Sail section of the program is aimed at the complete novice and covers techniques for steering a dinghy, trimming the sail and setting the balance. The top half of the screen shows the view you can see over the bows of the dinghy, while the lower part shows wind direction, the direction in which you are sailing, and features indicators for balance, sail-trim and speed.
By pressing C and V the player can look towards port and starboard respectively, and can also check the position of the dinghy on the course by pressing E to see the computerised chart. A printed chart is also supplied with the game, and this gives the position of the obstacles such as sandbanks, rocks and sunken wrecks. After the basic sailing techniques have been mastered, the player can progress to various races against the computer boat.
The accompanying booklet is very comprehensive and clearly explains the skills to be learned. There is even a glossary of sailing terms such as 'tacking' and 'gybing', together with a few Yacht Race rules, eg. a windward boat keeps clear of a leeward boat.
There are, however, a few problems with the graphics in the game. First of all, the water is the same colour as the land, which takes a lot of getting used to; secondly the perspective fails to change according to the distance the dinghy is from the shore, so that constant reference to the computerised chart is essential.
All in all though, the program is very good value and as my testers agreed, would be enjoyed by seasoned sailors as well as by complete beginners.
: it is difficult to remember all the keys which are to be used, though the booklet does print a summary. Two keys each are required to operate the rudder, sails and balance, then C to look to port, V to look to starboard, and E to display the chart.Keyboard play
: rather slow, but this reflects the slowness of a dinghy to respondUse of colour
: reasonable, though water and land are the same colourGraphics
: fairly goodGeneral Rating:
At £9.95, Yacht Race represents good value for money, and is a good introduction to sailing for the novice, as well as providing interest for experienced sailors.
An example of the impressive graphics in YACHT RACE, but a pity the sea and land are the same colour.